In 20 Twittington Street, Mr Score was busy having his breakfast. Twenty small items as usual, of course. The meal comprised:
1 x small glass of grapefruit juice 2 x cups of tea 1 portion of scrambled eggs on 2 x pieces of toast coated with 1 x knife-full of low-fat margarine 2 x sprinklings of salt 2 x sprinklings of pepper 1 x dollop of HP sauce 1 x dollop of ketchup 1 x rasher of bacon 1 x pork sausage 2 x grilled tomatoes 2 x grilled mushrooms with 1 x sprinkling of herbs on top
He always enjoyed his twenty items, and polished them off taking exactly twenty minutes. He always found twenty items exactly the right number, and twenty minutes exactly the right amount of time to eat it in. As he finished his last mouthful he heard the post thud onto the mat. He got up to check. Phew! There were exactly twenty items. He hated it when the post office got it wrong. He went on to have a fully hunky-dory, 20-20 day. When he went to bed he was at peace with the world and slept soundly, having said his prayers to the God of Twenty Dreams.
The following morning he got up at 8.20am as usual and went down to breakfast. Oh, he was really hungry that morning; it must have been all that dreaming. He gobbled up his breakfast so fast, which made him extra-thirsty. He reached out and poured, then gulped down a cup of tea — his third. Without thinking he had just had twenty-one items. That was unheard of. His heart started to pound in his chest as he realised what he’d done and the risk he was taking. He began to sweat profusely and his vision blurred. He was completely out of his comfort zone and he didn’t know what to do.
“Thud”. So the post had come — 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 items. Phew! No need to panic. Things were normal after all. Mr Score started to walk back to his seat at the kitchen table.
“Plop”. A lighter sound came from behind him. He turned around to see another letter on the mat — a bright red envelope — number 21. Oh then he really started to worry. He paced up and down and up and down. It took him a full twenty minutes to get up the courage to shuffle over to the envelope in his slippers. He picked it up slowly and opened it tentatively….. It was an invite to a party — YIPPEE! Mr Score was never invited to parties. Sometimes he was invited to multiple choice tests, but never to parties. The invite read:
Dear Mr Score,
You are cordially invited to a “21” party in celebration of the 21st birthday of Twinkletoes Tinsel
at 20.21 on Saturday 21st May, 21 Casino Drive
In smaller letters at the bottom:
strictly only over-21’s allowed. RSVP
Oh he was so excited, but so shocked! How could he, Mr Score, possibly go to a 21 party? It was so new, so different, he hadn’t a clue where to begin. He tried twenty times to draft a reply to the invitation. Each time he was dissatisfied and scrumpled up his attempt. Astonishingly he succeeded on his 21st try. He posted off the 21st sheet of paper, leaving the previous twenty scrumpled up balls in his waste-paper basket. He’d dared to accept. Now the question was, did he dare to go?
Saturday came and Mr Score made sure he spent a full twenty-one minutes getting ready. Oh it was a struggle that last minute, it seemed to drag on forever for him. But then again, he did have an extra silk spotted handkerchief to display in his top pocket, which took at least twenty-one seconds to arrange.
He boldly took the twenty-one steps to 21 Casino Drive, took a deep breath and rang the bell. The pretty twenty-one year old Twinkletoes came to greet him at the door. He was bowled over. She was everything he had imagined in his wildest dreams, and more. She just seemed to have that little bit extra that all the other girls he knew were lacking. She also looked approvingly at him.
“My, don’t you look complete!” she said, running her fingers over his silk handkerchief. He blushed like a twenty-year old as she led him inside to the party. They danced, they drank, they giggled. Then they joined the other guests at cards — 21 of course! Mr Score was lucky for a while, but Twinkletoes kept winning over all the other guests.
At the end of the evening, he said goodnight, and quite overcome with all the excitement he kissed her a full twenty-one times on the lips. He especially enjoyed the last one. It was so adventurous, so free. So like nothing he had ever experienced.
“Can I see you again, Mr Score?” she asked, giving him her sweetest smile. Flustered, he replied, “oh, er, oh, er, I’m really not sure about that my dear Twinkly”, looking down at his shoes. “I’ve had a thoroughly nice time and all that, but it’s just been such an extraordinary day. I suddenly feel completely exhausted and a bit out of sorts”.
As Mr Score walked the twenty-one steps back home he realised he just couldn’t get together with a girl like that. He knew in his heart she’d always have one up on him. He deliberately made his last stride home an extra huge one, arriving home at the end of step twenty. He felt a weight lift off his shoulders, home at last. As he undressed and hung up his clothes, he laid down the silk handkerchief on his desk, smiled and wrote a reminder note to himself. He would post the handkerchief to Twinkletoes tomorrow as a thank you for the party and something to remember him by.